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Milli Vanilli Says Record Company Knew They Were Fakes

November 17, 1990 GMT

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ What did Arista executives know about Milli Vanilli’s fake singing and when did they know it?

Group members and a former manager claimed record company executives at Arista knew the dreadlocked duo was faking it, even before the Grammy Awards ceremony in February.

German producer Frank Farian this week confirmed longstanding rumors the pair, Robert Pilatus and Fabrice Morvan, did not sing on the multi-platinum ″Girl You Know It’s True″ album. Farian said the two lip-synced for videos and live appearances.

But Pilatus told the Los Angeles Times on Friday the pair had already admitted the truth to Clive Davis, president of Arista.

″We told Clive Davis. We told Sandy Gallin (a Hollywood talent manager). We told everybody six months before the Grammy Awards,″ Pilatus said.

Milli Vanilli’s former manager, Todd Headlee, said their phony recording was common knowledge at the record company.

″Everyone at Arista who worked closely with the group was walking on eggshells before the Grammy lip-sync performance last February,″ Headlee told the Times.

″When they walked off the stage clutching the trophy, I remember thinking to myself that they may not have deserved the Grammy for their performance, but they sure as hell did deserve an Oscar,″ Headlee added.

Roy Lott, executive vice president of Arista, denied the entertainers’ account.

″There is now way that anyone ever could have know whether they sang or not,″ Lott said. ″We are merely a distributor of their records. Rob and Fab and Frank assured us that they sang on the record.″

A call seeking comment from Davis on Friday night was not returned.

The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences will decide next month whether to strip the Grammy Award for Best New Artist.

″It was fraud and we’re appalled by it,″ NARAS President Michael Greene said Friday. ″But our hearts go out to these two guys, because they’re very easy targets.″

The NARAS awards subcommittee will meet Dec. 5 in New York to discuss revoking the award and the board of trustees will meet later that month to make a final decision. If the Grammy is revoked it would mark the first such action taken in the academy’s 33-year history.

Casey Kasem, host of the national radio program, Casey’s Top 40, said today Milli Vanilli should be ″forgiven.″

″In all fairness you have to recognize that we all, at one time or another, have been sucked into a situation we regret,″ Kasem said from Washington D.C. in a telephone interview with the Associated Press.

″The album was a major seller and loved by a lot of people,″ Kasem said. ″They (Milli Vanilli) know in their hearts they could have done that but didn’t have the opportunity.″

Meanwhile, angry fans turned in their ″Milli Vanilli″ recordings Friday and radio stations vowed to pull the pop duo off the air.

″I think they’re dirty scumbuckets,″ said 9-year-old Katie Dickman of Richmond, Ind. ″I used to like them, but not now.″

Radio station WLOL-FM in Minneapolis said it was ″Milli Vanilli Free″ and would no longer play the album.

Farian says he was forced to go public with the revelations when the boys told him they wanted to sing on the follow-up record.

″I said, ‘No. I don’t go for that.’ Sure, they have a voice, but that’s not really what I want to use on my records,″ Farian said Wednesday.

In a statement Thursday, the two said they ″have been ready, willing and able to record our own vocals and have been prevented by Frank Farian from doing so.″